The Chinese law firm Yingke is turning the tables on US firms invading its turf by opening offices in New York . . along with Hong Kong and Sao Paulo. The Lawyer magazine reports.
Yingke has recruited New York-qualified lawyer Zoe Qiao from a New York-based financial institution to head its first US office. Qiao is supported by two other legal staff.
The firm has also received approval from the Hong Kong Law Society to set up its Hong Kong branch office, and has established a seven-member consultancy firm in São Paulo led by Brazilian lawyer João Alexandre Gebara.
The New York office, similar to its London office (26 September 2011), is primarily a marketing and service office.
“New York is a key global financial centre. It is a strategic location for our international expansion,” said Linda Yang, the partner in charge of Yingke’s international initiatives.
Prior to the New York opening, Yang assisted the Rockefeller family in setting up a China joint venture fund with a total size of Rmb5bn (500m).
Yingke’s New York office will mainly focus on serving as a coordinator between Chinese companies and US legal services providers. It will also function as a referral point for inbound investment to China and Chinese legal matters.
“Many Chinese companies, particularly small to medium-sized private enterprises have experienced real difficulties in working with foreign law firms, due to language and culture barriers and a lack of understanding of each other’s market and legal system,” said Yang. “Yingke can play an important role in bridging the gap and enabling effective communications between foreign counsel and Chinese companies.”
Following the New York opening, Yingke will look at expanding its US presence to Chicago and Los Angles.
Yang noted that although there was no straightforward benchmark to measure the contribution and success of the international offices, they had contributed to the firm being instructed on several cross-border mandates.